Top 10 John Miles Songs

John Miles Songs

Photo: By Sven Mandel (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Our Top 10 John Miles songs list examines the best music England’s late John Miles ever produced. Many people in the United States are unaware of the legendary singer’s career. In 1975, John Miles was introduced to the legendary Alan Parsons, who had engineered Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon only a few years earlier. Alan Parsons had also become a famous record producer and solo artist with a wonderful collection of his own albums. After meeting Alan Parsons, Miles and Parsons went into the studio and recorded the single “HighFly.” After the single’s success in the U.K., John Miles recorded his first album, “Rebel.” The cover and title of the album were a tribute to the movie star James Dean, in which Miles’s image (especially his hair) was shaped. Columbia Records heavily promoted the album in the United States. Promotional ads were printed in Rolling Stone, Circus, and Cream rock magazines.

John Miles’ follow-up to the Rebel album was entitled Stranger in the City. Once again, the album’s release was followed by a considerable media advertising campaign in the United States. The album was produced by Rupert Holmes, who would have a huge hit on his own in 1979 with “Escape(The Pina Colada Song).” During the time between the Rebel and Stranger in the City Albums, John Miles toured in the U.K., opening for the Rolling Stones and Elton John. After the release of Stranger in the City, John Miles would release eight more albums until his last one Tom and Catherine was released in 1999. John Miles passed away in 2021

Although John Miles never gained much popularity in the United States, hardcore fans of Led Zeppelin heard of him because of his work with Jimmy Page. In 1988, Jimmy Page released his first solo album entitled OutriderOn the Outrider album, John Miles sang lead vocals on the songs “Wasting My Time” and “Wanna Make Love.” Both songs were co-written between Jimmy Page and John Miles. The same album also featured lead vocals by Robert Plant, leaving John Miles in pretty good company.

The list below presents some of his career’s best John Miles songs. We were careful not to utilize too much of the first two albums, where most of his career’s best stuff can be found. Over time, John Miles varied his musical style greatly. Those changes are meant to be presented in this list of John Miles songs. If you have never heard of the singer, hopefully, this list will inspire you to check out some of the great music John Miles made during his career.

# 10 – Rebel

The John Miles song “Rebel,” was the title track from the singer’s debut album. The song featured one of John Miles’ greatest guitar licks. The album was released on March 6th, 1976. The album was recorded at the famous Abbey Studios in England. The song “Rebel,” was written by John Miles and Bob Marshall. John Miles had a very distinctive guitar sound. One can hear it initially at the start of the track.

# 9 – Song For You

The John Miles Song, “Song For You,” was released on John Miles’ 1983 album Play On. The song appeared as the second song on the album. One of the most notable attributes of the Play On album was that Gus Dudgeon produced it. The famed producer Gus Dudgeon was well known for his incredible work as a producer on some of Elton John’s most memorable albums.

# 8 – Pull the Damn Thing Down

Although we have tried not to include too many John Miles Songs from the Rebel album because they are all so good, we couldn’t resist listing this one. The song “Pull the Damn Thing Down” appeared as the last song on the album before the title track “Music” reprise. It was common for 1970s albums to place usually one of the best tracks or at least epic tracks on an album at the end. The placing of “Pull the Damn Thing Down” was a perfect example of that concept.

# 7 – Manhattan Skyline

John Miles’ “Manhattan Skyline” was the opening track on the Stranger in the City album. The sound of the disco era is quite apparent in the song. The album featured a minor disco hit called “Slow Down,” which was not included in the Top 10 John Miles Songs list. Decca records heavily promoted the album Stranger in the City. The album Stranger in the City was released in February 1977.

 # 6 – Oh How The Years Go By

One of the last great John Miles Songs was released on his 1993 album entitled Upfront. It was John Mile’s first album since his 1985 album Transition. The song “Oh, How the Years Go By” was written by Simon Climie & Will Jennings. It had also been covered separately by Amy Grant and Vanessa Williams in the early nineteen nineties.

# 5 – It’s Not Called Angel

John Miles’ Sympathy album, released in 1980, was probably the singer’s most underrated release. The album contained two John Miles songs that made the Top 10 John Miles Songs list here at ClassicRockHistory.com. “It’s Not Called Angel” appeared as the second track on the album. The album cover once again seemed to pay tribute to the late actor James Dean. When John Miles released his first album, Rebel, it was often written that the title and the pose on the cover were in tribute to James Dean.  On the Sympathy album cover, John Miles posed with a cigarette in his mouth, which also seemed to be an expression of the James Dean cool. However, regardless of the cover, the album contained some of the best music of John Miles’ career.

# 4 – Stranger in the City

John Miles’ Stranger in the City was the title track to his sophomore album Stranger in the City, released in 1977. The album’s fabulous cover and title seemed to depict how difficult and intimidating it was for U.K. artists arriving in New York City for the first time.

# 3- Highfly

“HighFly” was the song that started John Miles’s career. Produced by the great Alan Parsons, the song eventually led to the recording of John Miles’s first album, Rebel. The song was not a big hit in the United States. However, it hit No. 17 on the UK Top 100. Charts. Everything about this attack defines the perfect pop song. The introduction is instantly captivating. The verses set up the chorus perfectly, and the vocals performance is just out of this world. It’s a highly addicting song that once you hear it, you cant stop singing it.

# 2- Music

Most hardcore John Miles fans would pick “Music” as John Miles’s greatest song and artistic moment. It would be hard to argue against that. “Music,” is one of the most beautiful pop songs ever written and recorded. It appeared as the opening track on his debut album Rebel. It was also reprised at the end of the album.

# 1 – Where Would I Be Without You

The John Miles song “Where Would I Be Without You” was the opening track to John Miles’ 1983 album Sympathy. The song is rarely picked as a fan favorite. It was never a big hit, and I don’t believe I have ever met anyone who has ever heard of the song. Yet, the song was the opening track on the album. Record companies always place what they view as the best song as the opening track. The label knew it had a great song. I am sure John Miles probably knew he had a great song. And here at ClassicRockHistory, it easily topped our list of great John Miles songs. If you have never heard the song, please click on it and listen. It was just pure pop perfection.

Top 10 John Miles Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023

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